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Q: I am not in any significant relationship, and probably will not be for a long time.

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Yet I really want to buy my own property, even if it is something small. How can I go about this on my own?

A: As a solo buyer, you are likely to have a smaller budget than a couple who can join their savings and income, so you need to be smart with your money.

It is advisable to have at least a 10% deposit saved up, as well as enough money to cover all the other costs associated with buying a home, such as transfer duty, attorney fees, home insurance and bond costs.

If you avoid taking out a 100% loan, not only will your monthly repayments be lower, but you will also often secure a lower interest rate on the home loan and save a substantial amount on interest charges over the span of the loan term.

Real estate is a long-term investment, so to ensure that you will one day make a profit on the sale of the home, you need to buy one that you can imagine living in for at least the next five to 10 years.

Your plans will largely determine the type of home that will suit you best. You may be single now, but do you foresee having a partner within the next 10 years?

Single-income buyers should consider homes with the potential to extend. Alternatively, you could find a small starter home that can be let in the future if the property no longer suits your needs. – Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa

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